Romeo's Daughter, Blackpool 2022

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They have retained a timeless quality which means they still resonate even now.

Blackpool: Waterloo Bar - 11th March 2022

It is two years since my last visit to the Waterloo Bar in Blackpool when, coincidentally, I was there to see Romeo's Daughter. At the time Hurricane Denis was battering the west coast of England, so it was no surprise to arrive once more to be greeted by torrential rain and gusty winds. Fortunately, I was able to park my car just a few metres from the entrance to the building and got inside to await the start of the show. When the band took to the stage at 10.15pm there was a healthy crowd in attendance, though nowhere near being packed. The inclement weather may have kept a few people away and I am sure that some are still coming to terms with the post-pandemic situation.

'Heaven In The Back Seat' seems to have cemented its place as the set opener now and is followed closely by 'Attracted To The Animal'. Romeo's Daughter celebrated their thirty-year anniversary back in 2019, though there was a lengthy hiatus before being tempted back for a Firefest show in 2009. Though there have only been four albums released during a thirty-three-year career a new set of songs is due later in 2022. "These things take time" according to lead-singer Leigh Matty. With that in mind there are no real surprises in the Blackpool set-list and no previously unheard songs. 'Bittersweet', 'Trippin', 'Enemy', Radio' and 'Alive' are the most recent songs to feature, taken from the 'Rapture' and 'Spin' albums, and they all carry that well-worn infectious musical blueprint.

The line-up has now been stable for several years and still includes original members Leigh Matty, Craig Joiner (guitar) and Andy Wells (drums) alongside bass player Steve Drennan. Andy seems keen to show off his new kit, to the amusement of everyone else, and that personal and friendly manner adopted by the band puts a welcoming atmosphere on proceedings. Craig occasionally channels his inner Edward Van Halen and I think if there was a full-time keyboard player to fill out the sound there would be more opportunities to indulge himself further. Leigh still has that warm and seemingly effortless delivery and she never misses a note throughout the whole ninety-minute performance.

The 1989 debut is well represented with 'Velvet Tongue', 'Inside Out', 'Colour You A Smile', 'I Cry Myself To Sleep', 'Don't Break My Heart' and closing 'Wild Child'. These are songs that impacted immediately when heard for the first time all those years ago and they have retained a timeless quality which means they still resonate even now. It was nice to be able to quickly congratulate Leigh and Craig personally on the night before heading back out into the fresh Blackpool air.

The ninety-minute drive home was a minefield of roadworks, bad weather and missing lighting, but made less tiresome and difficult due to the music from the CD player reminding me of another great Romeo's Daughter show. Hopefully there will be more dates in the not-too-distant future, when there will be new music to showcase.

Dave Bott

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